Launching a print on demand (POD) store is a win-win business idea — you need minimum investments and can start selling your print products anywhere in the world in a matter of days. Cloudprinter.com helps e-commerce businesses automate their print needs and satisfy the demand for their products globally. Based on our 5+ years experience, we've collected our well-tried insights and created a comprehensive step by step guide on how to start a print on demand business.
How to Start a Print on Demand business?
Why Start Your Print On Demand Shop?
- Easy start. It is possible to have your POD business up and running within days.
- Low set up costs. You'll have to invest little to no money.
- No need to buy inventory. No need to find a property, sign a commercial lease, hire full-time store assistant, or buy print facilities.
- Third-party providers are in charge of everything except for the creative process. You can bring your idea to life without substantial skills in coding, sales, design, etc.
1. Choose the Niche and Product Offering Before setting up a print on demand business, you first have to choose a niche and product you'd like to sell. To stand out among competitors, analyze your target audience on the initial stage and come up with relevant product ideas.
Not sure where to start?
Doing a research across popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. is a good place to start. Simply find often discussed trends, ideas, viral content and build your print on demand store upon your findings.
Developing your POD business based on ideas that resonate with large numbers of people raises the chances of success of your store. For example, a lot of people are passionate about the Star Wars universe, but you would rarely meet a person obsessed with Hungarian literature of the 15th century. Keep it in mind while determining the niche and offering of your POD store.
Once the niche is chosen, it’s time to define the products offering. Trendy print on demand products include mugs, t-shirts, carrier bags, posters, and face masks. Despite such a wide variety of available options, better stick with a narrow focus and choose the most relevant and in demand products for now.
This way, pillows with cat or dog faces may not be the best idea, while shopper bags or t-shirts with iconic quotes from famous TV shows, movies, or books have the potential to become trendy.
The COVID-19 pandemic made its adjustments to all areas of human lives, including the print industry. As people are limited in their entertainment options, they started investing money in something else, particularly photo personalization.
Cloudprinter.com COVID report illustrates this tendency clearly. Take a look at the most popular print products of March 2020-January 2021:
Photo Tiles. Stick-on picture tiles allow you to turn favourite memories into a wall decoration without damaging the walls. As people got stuck in their houses for months, they needed distractions, and redecorating and making their homes cozier became one of them.
Photo books. Thematic photo books are one of the best ways to preserve precious memories from journeys, adventures, and special occasions in one’s life.
Posters. Unique posters with interesting and thematic prints became a decor alternative both in offices and at homes. Dedicated to specific topics, they are often the central piece in the interior. There is no need to buy expensive art objects anymore to make the space aesthetically appealing.
Three reasons can explain the demand for these products:
- Forced to stay at home, people started thinking more about redecorating and renovating their homes.
- Unable to gain new experiences, they had time to reflect on their past adventures and arrange more photo books.
- There were not a lot of other options for spending money except for online shopping.
We've seen an increasing demand for such items as t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and postcards, which means the following products will be the top choice in 2021:
- Postcards. They are affordable for many people, allowing them to implement their artistic ideas and create art accessible for everyone. Postcards can be either a lovely gift or an interesting aspect of one’s interior.
- Mugs. Mugs are versatile products that are used by almost everyone, meaning there is a large target audience. Mugs remained one of the most popular print on demand products for a while, but they went a long way throughout the last couple of decades. At first, World’s Best Mom/Dad design was one of the most widespread customized mugs, but today the designs greatly expanded and evolved.
- Clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts, polo shirts are pieces of clothing that are used during the whole year. Today, clothing became one of the forms of self-expression, and custom-made t-shirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts, and polo shirts are in high demand.
- Shopper bags. Throughout the last couple of decades, shopper bags transformed from a functional piece reserved specifically for shopping into a fashion statement. Today, there are various shopper bags of different forms, colours, and different prints.
2. Create Design for Your Products
Once you decided on the niche and the product, it's time to work on the design. If you are a skilled designer, then you will have no problem working out the designs on your own.
However, if you have an idea but aren’t quite sure how to implement it, you can either use one of the tools, platforms, and applications developed specifically for this reason or find a professional designer.
Keep in mind that your design won't necessarily look just the same on a mug or a t-shirt as you had imagined. Thus, you'll have to adjust your designs to the specific characteristics of each product.
3. Launch Website
The next step is building a website for your online shop. It takes seconds for your potential customers to decide whether they want to explore your shop or not, all judging from the web page's looks, so it's necessary to keep it simple, understandable, and up to date.
Basically, there are 3 ways to build up the online presence of your POD shop:
1. Build your own website from scratch
You're only limited to your imagination while developing a website for your print on demand store. However, there are several drawbacks of this option: the whole process can take months, hiring developers and designers is costly, thus, return on investments will keep you waiting long. If you are not a professional web developer and don't want to spend a fortune on developing your website from scratch, this option won't fit you.
2. Create your website: use one of e-commerce platforms
Even without substantial knowledge of web design, it's possible to build a print on demand website from scratch with the help of such platforms as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Sellfy, or Ecwid. These platforms provide you with a domain, web hosting, a website builder, and e-commerce functionality. This way, you can set up your online store in no time and start selling in rapid terms.
3. Use a ready-to-go marketplace
If you don’t have an opportunity or simply don’t want to create your website, there also are platforms that got you covered. Such companies as Amazon or eBay, provide people with already prepared platforms to sell their products. There is no need to worry about the website and its construction. What is more, you can reach a wider audience because the products will be accessible for review of the thousands of these platforms’ users.
4. Choose a Print Provider
One of the crucial steps for the POD shop's future success is to find the right digital print provider who is also a potential business partner. While you will be in control of the sales part, print providers will be the ones responsible for the fulfilment and shipping.
Thus, when choosing the print provider, you'll have to consider multiple significant factors:
- quality and wide range of the printing products
- shipping area (worldwide) and rates
- support 24/7.
The process becomes even more complicated if you're looking to satisfy the demand for your products in several locations across the globe. You'll either have to find print houses in each separate location or print products in your city and then deliver them. Both options are time consuming and financially impractical.
That's why Cloudprinter.com is here to help you!
Cloudprinter.com is a platform that connects POD stores and print providers in 104 countries. It is an all-in-one solution that will help POD stores reach potential customers worldwide, expand their businesses, and make the process effortless and seamless.
Why Choose Cloudprinter.com?
- Local printing close to delivery destination. The company has a global print partner network of more than 170 printing facilities in 104 countries. Meaning, you can sell products all over the world while print partners will fulfil them as close to the delivery destinations as possible.
- Full API integration. Through only one integration with your e-commerce platform, you will have a business project ready to take orders and satisfy customers worldwide.
- Easy set-up. Choose the most suitable option for you — order directly from your browser with Quick Order, connect via API, or ready to go apps.
- Smart dashboard. Find all necessary information about your current and fulfilled orders. You don't have to worry about your order, as the Cloudprinter.com PDF file checker ensures the files you send for global print meet the format requirements. Besides, you're free to choose from 5000+ products and ready-to-go templates. No matter what you want to sell, Cloudprinter.com got you covered, from designing puzzles and letterheads to posters, t-shirts, and photos.
- 24/7 support. Our support specialists will answer all of your questions and solve your issues promptly no matter day or night.
- Eco-friendly approach. Via cutting delivery distances, Cloudprinter.com helps businesses save more than 95.6% of their delivery induced carbon footprint.
Easy to start, low-risk, and adjustable, POD business is the perfect option either for beginning or seasoned entrepreneurs in times of global pandemic. So, don’t hesitate to start your own POD business and use Cloudprinter.com to expand it globally!